London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
John Robertson <-auth Gary Ralston auth-> Levan Paniashvili
[D Rosa 30]
24 of 025 ----- E H


Dec 17 2004

Hearts 0 Ferencvaros 1 UEFA CUP SPECIAL Hungarian hitman strikes at the third attempt to shatter Jambos Euro dream

By Gary Ralston

AND then there were none. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. It may read like a Hungarian midfield line-up but it spells disaster for the standing of Scottish football in Europe this morning.

The gates of the Christmas advent calendars have still to be prised fully open but the doors slammed shut on another European adventure last night - and the first pine needles haven't even fallen from our festive trees.

Hearts joined Celtic and Rangers on the outside looking in as they finished bottom of UEFA Cup Group A after losing to a Denes Rosa goal against Ferencvaros.

A number of high--flying clubs,a clutch of middle--ranking sides and several mediocre outfits will sit down in the last32to football's equivalent of a turkey roast.

We're back to a diet of stale SPL bread in the months ahead as our sides once again failed to make an impact on even the second tier of European competition.

The 1-0 win of FC Basel over Dutch side Feyenoord in Switzerland would have rendered a Jambos victory meaningless in any event but in the end John Robertson's side couldn't even deliver a hard luck story for the majority of the26,000fans inside the Scottish rugby HQ.

Hearts started strongly but one flash of brilliance by Ferencvaros allowed midfield man Rosa to score at the third attempt in 30 minutes and there was no way back.

Hearts worked gallantly but in the end Ferencvaros were comfortable winners and the majority of supporters had long recognised the fact by the end as they slunk silently from their makeshift home.

Boss John Robertson had a couple of surprises in his line-up, with Graham Weir preferred up front to Ramon Pereira and Dennis Wyness, both of whom played pivotal roles in the 2-1 victory at FC Basel.

Alan Maybury returned from domestic suspension to reclaim his full-back berth, with Jamie McAllister pushing forward into midfield to team up with Michael Stewart, who won a recall at the expense of young Joe Hamill.

The Murrayfield pitch still held traces of the sponsors' logos painted on the pitch from the Heinkenen Cup fixture between Edinburgh and Newcastle five days earlier but Hearts were determined to stamp their own impression on the home of Scottish rugby.

Ferencvaros, wearing green and white, hardly endeared themselves to a sizeable home support with a pre-match huddle but perhaps the Hungarian players were looking more for group protection against the biting wind that whipped around this huge bowl of a stadium.

Several of the Hungarians wore numbers on their backs that made them resemble a bingo callers' collective - 78, 88and 99, with a couple of subs listed at 79 and 90.

Ferencvaros began to look for the key to the Jambos door straight away but Brazilian Leandro de Almeida kidded no one when he was sent tumbling by McAllister and rolled around agonisingly on the turf as if he'd missed the full house in the National Link-Up game by a single number.

Thankfully, Hearts refused to be swayed and Stewart and, in particular, Paul Hartley began to look threatening in and around the opposition box.

Hartley, Jambos' top scorer this season with 10 goals, darted into the box after a quick throw by Mark de Vries on the right in 10 minutes, but Szucz bundled his angled volley round his left-hand post for a corner.

A few minutes later, Hartley had the ball in the net but,to the frustration of the home crowd, the referee's delayed whistle led to the award of a Ferencvaros free-kick.

McAllister had started the move on the left with a deep cross to the back post where Weir pulled the ball back to the edge of the area for Stewart. His pass inside was short but defender Gabor Gyepes cannoned his clearance off the arm and chest of Hartley, who took advantage of the bounce in his favour to slot the ball past Szucs.

The midfielder was not best pleased when play wascalled back.

McAllister was next to try his luck with an inswinging drive from a free-kick on the right-hand side of the box that Szucs did well to touch over. It was all Hearts at this stage but their opponents posted a reminder of their threat on the break midway through the first half.

Aleksandr Bajevski broke down the left and pulled a low cross back for strike pal Marek Penska, who knocked the ball wide from only eight yards.

However, that seemed to inspire Hearts and they went straight up field and almost netted the opener.Stewart split the defence with a pass for Hartley but Szucs ran out to block his low effort from 16 yards with his legs.

The only thing missing from a positive start was a goal from Hearts but, as is so often the case with Scottish clubs in Europe, they were hit by a classic sucker punch in the 30th minute.

There seemed little obvious danger when midfield general Peter Lipcsei picked up the ball at the edge of the box but he split the Hearts rearguard with a stunning pass to team-mate Denes Rosa. Craig Gordon made a valiant effort to beat out his first shot but the Ferencvaros star knocked the rebound into the empty net.

The 50-strong travelling support behind Gordon's goal was in raptures as Jambos followers sat in stunned silence.

Suddenly, for the first time in the match, Hearts were struggling to make a forward impact, although de Vries almost hauled them level with a low, deflected shot that Szucs again touched round his post, this time at full stretch.

Ferencvaros made their first substitution five minutes into the second half - and it was a sight to strike fear into the heart of skipper Steven Pressley.

Attacking midfielder Daniel Tozser was replaced by Szabolcs Huszti, 21, who scored twice against Elvis and Co when Hungary humiliated Scotland 3-0 last August at Hampden but who was left out of the starting line-up for this one because he has been getting too big-headed.

Hearts desperately needed an equaliser and were encouraged for a while by news that it was still scoreless in Basel.

Then word began to filter through that the Swiss side were a goal to the good.

This disappointing news came just moments after Hearts had again been denied a goal when good fortune deserted them in the box for the umpteenth time of the night.

Stewart was played in on the right of the box and let fly with a shot Szucs could only parry but as Weir rushed in to poke the ball over the line, defender Lipcsei nipped in to knock the ball to safety.

Home fans in the 26,182 crowd grew increasingly frustrated, grumbles and groans replacing yells of anticipation, so Robertson tried to freshen his side up by replacing McAllister with Pereira after an hour.

But the spark had gone and Ferenvaros increasingly relied on time-wasting tactics. Their players rolled around at the slightest contact,breaking up the game and denying Hearts the chance to build any period of sustained pressure.

Georgian referee Levan Paniashvili had already yellow-carded four players - three Hungarians plus Hearts' Andy Webster - in a bad-tempered affair but after 70 minutes he increased the profile of his crime list by ordering Ferencvaros boss Csaba Laszlo to the stand.

The visiting manager had complained constantly about perceived injustices against his side but the fourth official had clearly had enough of his mouthing and alerted his superior.

Laszlo spat a mouthful of abuse at fourth man Merab Malaguradze as he was led across the running track and up the tunnel by two of Lothian and Borders' finest.

He looked on from on high as de Almeida almost added a second goal, the Brazilian's 30-yard effort being turned round the post by Gordon. Substitute Thomas Sowunmi fired a header off the top of the bar from the resulting corner.

The Jambos threw everything they had at their rivals in the late stages but succeeded only in leaving gaps at the back that might have been exploited on another night.

In the end, though, the Hungarians were happy with a one-goal win. They had done just enough to walk away with the spoils.

Taken from the Daily Record

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